Integration of the microbiome, climate and imaging information to predict fruit quality

Lead Research Organisation: University of Essex
Department Name: Life Sciences


Apple fruit are usually stored for minim six months in controlled atmosphere before marketing in the UK. It is not unusual for the stored fruit to suffer from 10-15% post-storage losses due to various causes, including physiological disorders and fungal rotting. This leads to not only yield losses but also increased cost in sorting fruit post-storage. Fruit storability (i.e. post-storage fruit quality) can be affected by many factors, including flowering time, fruit ripeness at picking, fruit surface microflora, and climatic factors. Furthermore, the relationships of fruit quality with these factors are usually non-linear and the precise causal relationships have yet to be elucidated.
The research focuses on the following three scientific questions:
Can we use winter and spring climatic information to predict flowering time and its variability?
Can we use in-season climatic data and imaging data to predict fruit ripeness?
Can we use fruit surface microbiome data predict post-storage fruit rot development?
Predicting the degree of fruit ripeness is critically important since it has been well established that fruit ripeness at picking could significantly affect fruit storage potential. Thus, the first two objectives focus on predicting fruit ripeness whereas the third concerns with relationship of fruit surface microbiomes with post-harvest fungal rot development.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/W510762/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025
2618764 Studentship BB/W510762/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025 Haidee Tang